Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Productivity and Costs
Nonfarm business sector productivity—real output per hour of all persons—decreased at an annualized rate of 2.0 percent during the fourth quarter, following increases of 1.9 and 3.2 percent in the second and third quarters, respectively. During 2012, productivity increased 0.6 percent, nearly identical to the 0.6 percent increase in 2011. The decrease in productivity during the fourth quarter was due to a 2.2 percent increase in hours worked compared with just a 0.1 percent increase in output. Hourly compensation increased 2.4 percent after increases of 1.3 and 0.8 percent during the previous two quarters. However, after controlling for price changes “real” hourly compensation increased just 0.3 percent during the final three months of the year. Since the fourth quarter of 2011 “real” hourly compensation is up 0.7 percent, a second consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth. Unit labor cost, which is measured as hourly compensation per hourly output, increased 4.5 percent after declines in the previous two quarters and has increased 2.0 percent since 2011.